Monday, February 17, 2014

Promises made, promises kept?

This year, as the dreary end of Winter becomes the enlivening promise of Spring, I'm going to pay more attention to what's going on in the neighborhood. I won't be driving a daily commute and spending hours inside a windowless office, so I'll have few, if any, excuses. I'll listen to what the trees have to say as they're coated in a late Winter, early Spring blanket of fresh snow. I'll listen even more carefully to their reaction as they are once again freed from a frigid, white cloak.

 trees cloaked in white
 trees cloaked in white        © harrington

As Spring deepens, and the snow-packed roads enter mud-season, I'll note the fresh aromas of the season change. The crisp freshness of the frozen mornings and the fecund fragrance of sun-warmed afternoons. Cardinals will be singing "cheer, what cheer'" and I will cheer their chorus. Chickadees will sound their "dee, dee, dees," to which I will add a "Zip a dee doo dah." Spring in Minnesota is one of those seasons that is often more rewarding in its promises than in their fulfillment. That's no reason to not thoroughly enjoy it. Within the next few weeks, I'll start at least a weekly check for ice out on the St. Croix River. The sight and sound of flowing water, when it comes, will be reward enough for what I expect will be several premature and fruitless trips.

late Winter, early Spring road
late Winter, early Spring road    © harrington

Somewhere around the ides of March, maybe a little later, I'll expect to start  hearing the local gobblers each declaring that he's the king of his own local hill. They'll be competing with the returning Canada geese and sandhill cranes to see who can most joyously trumpet the arrival of our most fragile and ephemeral season. I can't wait for the show, and the trailers start to run tomorrow, through the end of this week. Listen for the sounds of water dripping and the test the wind for the smell of moisture-laden air. That's the kind of change that will do my heart good. Jon Anderson seems to understand how best to respond to Winters like we've been having.

You Must

  by Jon Andersen
You must have a hope
that will let you stomp and sing
at any cold dawn.
You must not wait
to love the student who loves you
and would like to kill you.
You must read the story again
and again to the child
who receives you with a bovine stare.
You must get up
every day to punch in
not dreaming on transcendence,
not desiring new heroes or gods,
not looking the other way,
but looking for the other way
and ready to talk to everyone on the line.
You must not wait
for official approval
nor general consensus
to rage.  You must
come again to kneel
in shiny, rock-strewn soil
not to pray, but to plant.
Yes, even now
as ice caps melt and black top
goes soft in the sun
you must prepare for the harvest.
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